By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley
Kakuni is a Japanese dish of braised pork belly that tastes great over rice. To make things more interesting, add hardboiled eggs and pieces of venison to the pot. Choose venison cuts that have a lot of ligaments and silver skin running through them, such as the neck and front shoulders. When slow cooked, that collagen breaks down and imparts an amazing fatty texture to lean venison.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
- 1 pound of pork belly
- 2 pounds of venison roast (cuts with lots of ligament/sinew/silver skin)
- 1 leek
- 3 inches of ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup of sake
- ¼ cup of mirin
- 2 tablespoons of concentrated dashi soup base
- 6 hardboiled eggs
- Cooked white rice for serving
- Chopped green onion for garnish
- Slice pork belly and cut venison roast into large pieces. Pat dry with paper towels. Slice leek into large pieces and wash thoroughly.
- Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat and brown pork belly and venison in batches for a nice crust – do not crowd the pan. Return all the browned meat to the pot and cover with water, about 5-6 cups. Add the sliced ginger and leek pieces. Cover and simmer for 2 hours and 30 minutes or until tender. Skim off any foam.
- Remove the meat from the pot and strain the broth, reserving 4 cups. Skim off and discard fat. Wipe/wash the pot and return the pork belly and venison to the pot with reserved broth. Stir in sugar, soy sauce, sake, mirin and dashi soup base. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Then add the hardboiled eggs and continue simmering for an additional 30 minutes. Rotate the eggs and meat occasionally. The broth should reduce by ¾. Don’t allow the sauce to reduce too quickly to avoid burning – add water if necessary. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
- Serve this Japanese-style Pork Belly and Venison Recipe with cooked white rice and garnish with green onions. You can also thinly slice the venison while it’s cold to add to a hot bowl of ramen noodles or other Asian-style soup. Or shred the meat and turn it into a filling for onigiri – Japanese rice balls.